Page images
PDF
EPUB

ALISON, vol. xiv. p. 159, note. “Macdonald, on 28th October,

wrote to Suchet :

“The Governor of Barcelona has announced to me the immediate departure of a convoy from Perpignan on 4th November, and he urges me, in the strongest manner,

SOCHET, vol. i. p. 214. “On the 28th of October, Marshal Macdonald wrote to him:

« « The Governor of Barcelona has announced to me the approaching departure of a convoy from Perpignan between the 2d and the 4th of November, and he presses me, in the name of General d'Hilliers, to favour its advance. Were this convoy taken or dispersed, Barcelona might be lost; and there can be no doubt that the enemy will try every means of intercepting it. My presence alone can insure its safety; and you are well aware that even were the chances equal, we could not expose ourselves

to protect its advance.
If that convoy is taken or dispersed,
Barcelona will be lost;
and it is not doubtful that
the enemy will try every method
to intercept it. My presence alone
can save it; and you
will easily understand that even if
the chances of success were equally balanced,
we can never permit, without efforts to
prevent it,
such a loss, which

to this hazard, which,
if it happened to be against us,
would be without remedy.'”

would be irreparable.'”

It is sufficiently evident that we have here two independent translations of the same original.

Let us now compare Alison's History with that of Napier. I select a passage from the account of the battle of Salamanca.

NAPIER, vol. v. p. 176.

ALISON, vol. xv. p. 65.

“ An impetuous charge “Some of Boyer's dragoons also

of the French dragoons breaking in between the fifth and sixth divisions, slew many men, and caused some disorder in the Fifty-third ; only for an instant arrested the Fifty-third ; but that brave regiment lost no ground, nor did Clausel's impetuous attack avail at any point, after the first burst, against the steady courage of the Allies. The southern ridge

the southern ridge, which had been lost, was regained,

was regained ; The French General Menne was severely, and General Ferey mortally wounded ; Ferey was mortally, Clausel himself was hurt;

Clausel slightly, wounded ; and the reserve of Boyer's dragoons, coming on at a canter, were met and broken by the fire of Hulse's noble brigade. | over the whole centre

NAPIER, vol. v. p. 176.

ALISON, vol. xv. p. 65. Then the changing current of the fight once more set for the British.

the steady courage of the Allies prevailed ; The third division continued to outflank the enemy's left, Maucune abandoned the French Arapeiles, Foy retired from the ridge of Calvariza, and the Allied host righting itself,

and the Allied host righting itself, as a gallant ship after a sudden gust, like a gallant ship after a sudden gust, again bore onwards in blood and gloom; again bore onwards in blood and gloom; for though the air, purified by the storm for though the air, purified by the storm of the night before, was peculiarly clear, of the evening before, was peculiarly clear, one vast cloud rolled

one vast cloud of smoke and dust rolled along the basin, and within it was the battle, along the basin, and within it was the battle, with all its sights and sounds of terror.” with all its sights and sounds of terror.'”

Had there been no other evidence than the foregoing extracts, they would have conclusively established two points : first, that Alison was acquainted with, and made use of, Napier's History; for there is nothing in Alison's account which is not either expressly mentioned in, or follows by legitimate inference from Napier's—on the other hand, there are many things in it which could not be taken from Alison ; and, second, that both accounts were written in the same language, for there is an amount of verbal agreement which can only be accounted for upon that supposition.

. I shall now give examples illustrative of the connection of all the three historians.

NAPIER, vol. iv. p. 97. SUCHET, vol. ii. p. 95. ALISON, vol. xiv. p. 181. 1. Our fire ceased, and that

ran over

See v. 3. of the enemy redoubled at 1. The columns of attack the sight of our brave men,' 1. The assailants

who issued from the trenches, had to pass over

had to cross an open space of

an uncovered space of a space of more than a hundred yards sixty toises,

a hundred and twenty yards before they could reach and dashed on

before reaching the foot of the breach. the breach.

the wall. 2. And when within twenty yards of it, the hedge of aloes

2. Large aloes forming a line, 2. And the row of aloes at the distance of

ten fathoms from the wall, at its foot obliged them

forced the head of our column offered no inconsiderable to turn to the right and left, to turn aside.

obstacle to their advance. See v. 1.

[blocks in formation]

grape,
hand-grenades, and howit-
zers,

swept away

the head of the column.

which Spaniards, who
were crowding on the breach
with apparent desperation,
poured unceasingly upon poured upon
them. The destruction
was great ;
the head of the French the head of the column.
column
got into confusion,gave back, For a moment fortune
and was beginning to fly, seemed to waver.

The commander-in-chief when the reserves

ordered a reserve rushed up

to be brought up,
all his aides-de-camp

rushed forward ;
A great many officers, a battalion of officers
coming forward in a body,

hastened up.
General Habert, Colonel
Florestan Pépé, the Chef
de Bataillon Ceroni, the

officers of engineers, &c. &c., renewed the attack.

all led the way with
intrepidity.

On rushed
those behind, &c.

It is sufficiently obvious, from the foregoing description of the assault on Tarragona, that both Napier and Alison have taken their accounts from Suchet, and that the original was by an author personally cognisant of the events which he has recorded, from his autoptical details—giving the names of unimportant individuals, &c. It would be easy, were there any doubts on the subject, to extract evidence from Suchet's Memoirs, not only to prove that it was the work of an eyewitness, but that it was written by the commander of the French forces, although it is never so stated by the author.

The supposition that the historical writers, Matthew and Luke, made use of the works of their predecessors, has been objected to as inconsistent with their independence as historians, and as weakening the authority of the Gospels, by reducing them to two, or even to one.

Before considering the objection, let us see, in the first place, to what extent it interferes with the originality of the sacred his torians. I maintain that the Gospels of Mark and John are, in respect to matter, entirely original; in the next place, that Matthew appears, from comparing the parallel passages, to have taken about 500 verses from the original of Mark's Gospel; but Matthew's Gospel consists of 1071 verses—hence the largest half of this Gospel is original. Luke appears to have taken 308 verses from Mark's (or rather Peter's) memoir, and 120 from Matthew-in all, 428 ; but there are 1150 verses in Luke's Gospel—hence the largest portion of Luke's Gospel is also original. So that, of the four Gospels, two are entirely original; and of the two remaining, the largest portion of each is composed of original matter. Now, as I trace all that portion of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, which is not original, to the writings of apostles, it is not easy to see in what manner their authority can be weakened by the process.

We cannot say that the authority of Alison is weakened because, in narrating the Peninsular campaigns, he has made use of Napier's History, or Suchet's Memoirs. Let us now inquire in what respect St Luke injures the value of Matthew's testimony, by the use he has made of his history.

In the first place, who was St Luke ?—that is, who was the * but in the pre

author of the third Gospel? We are apt, from the circumstance of his writings forming a part of the same volume, to look upon them in no other light than as part of the same work ; but we have proof of the genuineness and authenticity of St Luke as an author, totally distinct, and independent not only of that by which we can authenticate the writings of Matthew or Mark, but even independent of the external evidence furnished by ancient authorities. He is the author of another work describing a series of events, some of which could only have been written by a person who was actually engaged in them. Now, this narrative terminates abruptly, exactly in the manner in which narratives written up to the time of writing terminate. We know, therefore, that the “ Acts of the Apostles” was written early in the third year of the procuratorship of Festus, A.D. 63; face to the Acts he alludes to a former work, corresponding in every particular to the Gospel of St Luke, and evidently written by the same author.

The evidence of the historical truth of St Matthew's Gospel, therefore, so far from being lessened by the use St Luke has made of it, receives from it its strongest confirmation ; for here we have a contemporary author who had the best means of procuring information from personal intercourse with the apostles, (Acts, xxi. 17, 18,) and who, as he himself tells us, received from them written accounts of our Lord's transactions, (Luke, i. 2.) Now, if St Luke, writing less than thirty years after these transactions, and whilst in communication with the principal actors, made use of the Gospel of St Matthew, it is, in fact, the best evidence which we possess of the genuineness and authenticity of that Gospel. It is an evidence which Paley says is, of all others,

“ The most unquestionable, the least liable to any practices of fraud, and is not diminished by the lapse of ages. Bishop Burnet, in the History of his Own Times, inserts various extracts from Lord Clarendon's History. One such insertion is a proof that Lord Clarendon's was extant at the time when Bishop

* Wieseler, Chronologie der A postolischen Zeitalters, p. 66. Art de vérifier des Dates. i. 128.

« PreviousContinue »